Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Victorian Jewellery- Getting Inspiration

I have recently been collecting little silver brooches and pins from the Victorian era or roundabout. You can see in the above photograph some tiny lace pins that are some of my favourites! I am a sucker for tiny things and these little gems are exquisitely made and truly unique.

I realised that the Victorians often used motifs that I have always liked to use in my jewellery designs such as crescent moons

and animals such as foxes so I think that this explains my affinity for Victorian design.

I find sweetheart brooches particularly fascinating because there are such a lot of them in existence but you generally never find the same design twice. These were highly sentimental items and would have meant a lot to the original owners.

Swallows are a recurring theme in these brooches and they are depicted either in engraved locket brooches, which usually have a space for secret photographs to be kept at the back and also pierced designs. These are really lovely and in the language of Victorian sentimental jewellery swallows mean 'I shall return'.

I am hoping to develop my jewellery making skills throughout this year and am very keen to try out engraving, enamelling and lost wax casting. Enamelling in particular would be a lovely thing to try as it is always nice to add a bit of colour to silver and you can achieve some very beautiful effects by mixing colours.
I have tried cold enamelling before as you can see in the photo below...
but I would prefer a more translucent effect, which I think you can only get through more traditional kiln enamelling. Unfortunately kilns cost several hundred pounds so I would need to do a course of some kind so that I can use proper jewellery making studio supplies and equipment!

I don't think it hurts to be a bit more ambitious in your designs so I am trying to evolve my style so that I use more elaborate decoration and add texture to the surface of the silver that I use. This will likely be a long process though!

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